defense, and we were evidently, from the character of their resistance, and the signs of recent bivouacs of an infantry column, pushing their rear guard close upon their main body. My guide (a very poor one, but the only one I could get) now mistook Henry's Bayou (a tributary) for the crossing of the main Fourche, and my advance was pushed cautiously in order to reconnoiter the ground in expectation of a stout resistance. This mistake delayed us nearly an hour. When we approached the bayou we found a very strong position, but the enemy had not chosen to occupy it, fearing probably the open grounded in the vicinity. Finding my mistake, and that the advanced regiment was becoming very weary, I ordered up first the Seventh Missouri and then the Tenth Illinois, as skirmishers and supports. While this was doing, Clarkson, one of whose rifled pieces had been previously ordered yo the front, received permission to open fire at long range at what seemed to be the dust of their column on the road, about 1 1/2 miles ahead.
The new disposition now being complete, and the Thirteenth Illinois being thrown out as flankers, we moved on toward Fourche Bayou, and, to my great astonishment, found this strong position evacuated, and no
enemy in sight. This fact was accounted for by some negroes at the house, near the bayou, who stated Marmaduke had formed his whole force, with four pieces of artillery, at this point, and was, with his staff, seated in the house at dinner, when one of Clarkson's shells exploded over the house; another immediately followed, falling near his line of battle, and two others in quick succession exploded so near them that the whole line precipitately turned and fled, led by Marmaduke himself. The evidence of a hasty evacuation of their position confirmed the negroes' story.
The day was now well worn a way, and my troops, weary from the previous day, were worn out with 16 miles of skirmishing through thickets and heavy timber. I ordered the main column to halt, and directed Colonel Clayton, with the First Indiana (which, having fresh horses and poor fire-arms, had been held in reserve to act as cavalry, should the opportunity offer), with their two rifled guns and two light howitzers, to move on to the front, mounted, and to move on rapidly, but with proper caution, until he should again overtake the enemy, informing him that I would immediately follow him with the Eighth and Merrill's Horse and one of Clarkson's rifles. Clayton moved promptly forward, and before the two supporting regiments had come up from the rear I heard his skirmishers engaged with the enemy about 2 miles to the front. Sending orders to hurry up the support, I rode rapidly to the front, where I found the enemy strongly posted on the crest of a hill, with another higher hill behind them, just beyond the intersection of the Hot Springs road, while Clayton had posted his guns on a hill opposite, with his skirmishers well up to their line. A few round from the Indiana section drove the two guns from the first hill, and a single well-directed shot striking in their battery while unlimbering on the second hill, started them on again without firing a shot from the second position. It was now after sunset, and the troops and horses were jaded and worn out, and with a few parting shells from Clarkson's rifled gun, hastening their retreat, the pursuit was abandoned for that day; and, for convenience of water and forage, the command was brought back to Fourche Bayou to camp.
Early next morning, Clayton, with his brigade, and the small rifles and four howitzers under Stange, was directed to pursue again, and, if possible, stir up their rear guard. He found that leaving their last position of the day previous, they had not halted again until after